Best of 2007 – a personal choice

by Chris Bertram on December 20, 2007

I guess it would be fun to have a best-of-2007 thread. The trouble is, of course, that it turns out when you look closely that many of the things that you thought came out in 2007 actually came out earlier. But I’m going to ignore that, if paperback came out in 2007 (for example) that’s good enough for me. So here goes – an entirely perverse personal selection (nominate your own in any category you like in comments).

Film: Das Leben der Anderen. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s portrait of East Germany under the thumb of the Stasi. Not released in the US and the UK until 2007, so it counts.

Novel: David Peace, The Damned United. (Paperback in 2007). No doubt utterly incomprehensible to anyone who wasn’t around in England at the time, this is a novelised day-by-day account of Brian Clough’s short tenure at Leeds United, as seen from inside Clough’s brandy-sodden head. Utterly brilliant.

Biography: “The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S.Thomas”: , by Byron Rogers. I blogged about it “here”: .

Team: “Bristol RFC”: , the relegation favourites who ended up in the Guinness Premiership play-offs. (OK, so I’m biased.)

CD: “Gram Parsons Archive vol. 1”: . Two CD’s of Flying Burrito Brothers performances from 1969 that have been sitting in the Grateful Dead archive ever since. Great performances and unmissable, if you like that kind of thing (which I do).

Blog: “The Encyclopedia of Decency”:, or Decentpedia. Whilst some of us had wasted hours of our time in serious engagement with the “decent left”, Malky Muscular, the Decentpedia’s proprietor, managed to deflate them with highly effective ridicule.

Blog post: Any one of Errol Morris’s “discussions”: of photographic authenticity at “Zoom”: .

Time-sink of the year: “Facebook”: .

Project of the year: Project 365, over at “Flickr”: , into which Eszter inveigled me, and which gave me a lot of fun.

I’d love to be able to nominate a philosophical paper or book of the year, but I can’t think of anything that’s really knocked me out.



Henry 12.20.07 at 11:58 pm

The Encyclopedia of Decency is very good, but “this”: surely owes some writing credit to Michael B. …


Sam C 12.21.07 at 1:48 am

This has mostly been a year of old stuff for me. Old books (mostly by or about Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill); old music (mostly jazz piano trios); old poetry (Wordsworth for his relevance to Mill; Philip Larkin because I read some at a wedding); and I got entirely out of the habit of going to see films. But for whatever it’s worth, here’s some ‘best of 2007’ music:

Battles – Mirrored
The Dead C – Future Artists
Paul Motian (with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano) – Time and Time Again
Radiohead – In Rainbows (I paid nothing, but will eventually get round to making an Oxfam donation; what did you pay?)
Tarentel – Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun
Black Dice – Load Blown


Eszter 12.21.07 at 3:32 am

Yay for Project 365!

On a completely personal note, I finally took up regular exercise and am doing pretty well averaging 10K/day (about 5 miles). I’ve been meaning to blog about this.. in any case, this means that gadget of the year for me is the pedometer.


JP Stormcrow 12.21.07 at 4:13 am

Time-sink of the year: Facebook .

Hah! That comes as no surprise you Internet-mongering lackey of the corrupt British Empire. Facebook and MySpace and online games appear to be the latest (or perhaps Scott can tell us if there is precedent) target of the LaRouchians – and you’ll be shocked to know that the Brits are behind it all. And it seems to have forced the Larouche Youth Movement (LYM) off of the high-road of bel canto singing:

A final presentation by the LYM’s Lewis Whilden, attacking the Facebook culture of today’s youth, concluded with the LYM, in four-part polyphony, singing the following lyrics, adapted to Felix Mendelssohn’s beautiful, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:

“Murdoch wants you in your place/firmly planted in MySpace./While you’re walking to your class, out/ comes a bomb from Cheney’s ass./This you do not want to see,/ while the Dick gets whipped with glee, We/can’t afford to bomb Iran,/Bush’s Dick, he thinks he can./That’s if you stay in your place,/firmly planted in MySpace.

“When you’re fondling your mouse, the/bank forecloses on your house./From the crash you cannot flee, at/least you have your HALO 3./Homeless in the streets you roam, a/cardboard Xbox is your home./Santa gives the gaming toys,/to 20-year-old little boys./Games will keep you in your place,/nothing real in your space.”

There’s much, much more. There’s a summary of a pamphlet The Noösphere vs. The Blogosphere: Is the Devil in Your Laptop? at this link. If you want the detail, download the full pamphlet linked in the article (warning 22 MB pdf). Find out why Bertrand Russell looms in the background on the pamphlet cover. [Hint: What nationality is he?]


roger 12.21.07 at 4:19 am

Chris, man, the Decentpedia is the bomb. Thanks for that link!


Ingrid 12.21.07 at 9:31 am

Film of the year: 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, by Cristian Mungiu. Someone here at CT should have blogged about it.


Kenny Easwaran 12.21.07 at 6:37 pm

The philosophical paper that strikes me right away is Tim Williamson’s “How Probable is an Infinite Series of Heads?” or whatever it’s called, though I’m sure plenty of other philosophers have absolutely no interest in this. But still, it’s an argument against the use of infinitesimals in probability (one of David Lewis’ pet ideas that he never really fully worked out) that anyone should have been able to come up with nearly 40 years ago, as soon as infinitesimals were around. And yet it took until now, and Williamson.

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